Boston Red Sox divided along racial lines over Trump's invitation to the White House
President Donald Trump invited players of the Boston Red Sox team to visit the White House on Thursday, May 9, to celebrate their victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, however, some players decided to give the invitation a miss. The event, once again, highlighted the president's complex history with professional athletes of color.
Reports state that most of the Red Sox team's Latino and African American players refused to attend the event over disagreements with Trump's politics. The initial announcement came from the team's manager Alex Cora, who is Puerto Rican. Soon, other players, including star pitcher David Price, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers, Hector Velazquez, Xander Bogaerts, Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez, decided to give the event a miss, according to CNN. All of the above members from the team are players of color.
Trump congratulated the team on its World Series win during a ceremony on the South Lawn on Thursday. The president was also presented with a personalized jersey by the winning team. Pitcher Chris Sale and JD Martinez also thanked the president for inviting the team to the White House.
"Over the course of the 2018 season, the Red Sox were — frankly, they were unstoppable," Trump said. "The 2018 Red Sox never gave up and never backed down. You always played like champions."
Team manager Cora reportedly skipped the event in protest against Trump's treatment of Puerto Rico in the wake of devastating hurricanes on the island. The president had opposed additional disaster aid for Puerto Rico and brushed off criticism about his administration's treatment of recovery efforts after hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017.
Trump, at a campaign rally in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday night, slammed Democrats for wanting to give Puerto Rico "more and more" in federal funding.
After Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night, Cora told reporters: "There has been a lot of talk about what's going on tomorrow and the clubhouse and being divided and race and politics. Those kids went out there and they played their heart out. We know who are in the clubhouse. I know a lot of people doubt that, but like we did last year, we cancel the noise."
"There's a group that is going home," he added. "There's a group that is going to the White House. On Friday, we get back and we get back to playing baseball."
Multiple title-winning players and teams have given the traditional White House visit a miss ever since Trump took over. They have often cited the president's controversial politics, particularly when it comes to race, as reasons for their protest.
Earlier this year, a majority of black football players on Clemson Tiger's national championship team also opted out of visiting the White House for Trump's infamous 'McCookout' where the Republican laid out an array of fast food for the players to feast on. Most black players cited "racism" and "divisive politics" as reasons to skip the invitation.
Trump, last year in June, had rescinded an invitation for the Philadephia Eagles to visit the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl victory over the national anthem dispute. The president has been critical of the National Football League (NFL) players taking a knee during the national anthem before the game as a form of protest against racial injustice and police brutality in the country. He had even called for the owners of the NFL teams to fire the players who were participating in the protest, calling the kneeling a "total disrespect of our heritage."
Previously, players of the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, in 2017, also skipped the White House visit, including star player Tom Brady.